Jesse Jackson, Jr.

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Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. is a former Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 2nd district of Illinois. He is married to Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson.

Early life

Born on March 11, 1965, Jesse Jackson, Jr. literally was born into the civil rights movement. Son of the Reverend Jesse Jackson.[1]


Jackson attended North Carolina A&T State University, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in business management. He later attended the Chicago Theological Seminary, earning a master's degree in theology. He continued his education at the University of Illinois College of Law, earning his J.D. in 1993.

Jackson has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from the Chicago Theological Seminary, North Carolina A&T State University and Governors State University.[1]


Jackson worked as national field director for the Rainbow Coalition. In 1995, he won election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Currently, Jackson sits on the House Appropriations Committee and on the subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.[1]

2012 controversy

Jackson was absent from Congress for months as he was being treated for bipolar mood disorder at the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, Jackson is under investigation for alleged misuse of campaign funds. The allegations could lead to his resignation.[2]

Africa Bill

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) introduced the H.O.P.E. for Africa bill (HR 772) in 2000. Seen by many as a more rogressive alternative to AGOA, it contained substantial debt cancellation provisions. His bill calls for equity and infrastructure funds to be used for basic health services (including AIDS prevention), schools, public transport-ation and rural electrification, with 70% to go to small, women- and minority-owned businesses, with 60% African ownership. He also proposes broader participation by African civil society in OPIC and Export-Import Bank advisory committees. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced a similar bill (S 1636) in the Senate this fall. Both bills languish in committee, with few prospects. [3]


Chicago activist Mark S. Allen revealed many of the connections in Chicago politics in an article in a March 29, 2012 article in Chicago Now.[4]

Rev. Addie Wyatt was a legendary leader whose life and legacy in the religious, labor and civil rights movement are historic, and I want to add my personal thanks for the role she played in my life as a young student and next generation leader who grew up under her leadership in the organizations led by the The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr, from Operation Breadbasket, Operation PUSH, now Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. I and other youth leaders like Barack Obama were counseled and supported by Rev. Addie Wyatt as we worked at local and national community organizing and direct action activities. She was up close and personal with me along with the Rev. Willie T. Barrow (another former aide to Dr. King) as I worked as a national staff member to Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr and during the historic political campaigns of Harold Washington For Mayor, Jesse Jackson, Jr. for Congress, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. For President and of course the campaign of Barack Obama for President Of The United States. I will forever be humbled and blessed by the input Rev. Wyatt has had in my life and her legacy lives on! (Mark S. Allen, veteran political activist/community organizer, Chicago Chairman of Black Wall Street Chicago)

Communist Party connections

Like his father, Jesse Jackson, Jr. has long enjoyed Communist Party USA connections.

Supporting Communist youth

In 1997 The World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), based in Budapest, denounced the U.S. Treasury Department's denial of a license for hundreds of young people from all over the U.S. to attend the 14th World Festival of Youth and Students in Havana, Cuba.

WFDY, an initiator of the festival scheduled for July 28 to Aug. 5, assailed the anti-democratic character of the decision and pledged an international campaign to demand that the U.S. government lift the travel ban.

According to the Communist Party USA paper Peoples Weekly World[5];

Nationally, the broad list of sponsors and endorsers has already begun to mount a campaign.

Members of the U.S. Congress, Ron Dellums (D-Calif.), Jesse Jackson Jr and Bobby Rush, both Illinois Democrats, have offered support.

Martinez Jobs Bill

Circa early June 1997 Congressmen Sidney Yates, Jesse Jackson, Jr., William Clay, John Conyers and delegate Donna Christensen, all signed on as co-sponsors of the Communist Party USA inspired Martinez Jobs Bill.[6]

Working with communists to Lower Gas Bills

In the winter of 2001, the gas bills for heating Chicago homes rose. Members of Bea Lumpkin's South Side Communist Club were angry too when they saw their huge gas bills. We agreed, anger is not useful unless it leads to effective action.

So on February 7, 2001, the Communist club took the first step to start the fightback. They talked to their coalition partners and together acted fast. Within a week they had a rally of 130 people to demand lower gas prices.

On February 13, 2001, USWA and Save Our Jobs Committee co-sponsored a rally in the steel union hall in South Chicago. They formed a new group, "Angry Utility Consumers." They included presidents of three USWA locals, Bea Lumpkin , Frank Lumpkin of Save Our Jobs Committee, Katie Jordan of Chicago Coalition of Labor Union Women; community leaders included Rev. Winfield Phillips, Free Salvation Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. Bill Hogan, Saint Bride Roman Catholic Church, and many block club presidents and members.[7]

After changing its name to the more positive Utility Consumers United for Justice, Bea Lumpkin and her group, with the help of Chicago CLUW, we took their petitions to Congressman Jesse Jackson in Washington, DC. He agreed with the group's demands.

We asked him to introduce a bill to re-regulate gas suppliers and stop gas shutoffs. He invited us to write the bill we wanted, and he would introduce it. We promised the congressman that we would "work to light a fire at the grass roots to pass it." We left delighted.

It turned out to be not that easy to write the bill. The experts told us that writing a bill was a full-time job. That bill still needs to be written and introduced. [8]

Wife supported by Communist Party

Sandi Jackson was supported by the Communist Party USA during her successful 2007 Chicago City Council race.[9]

The 2007 municipal elections are the sharpest expression yet of the re-emergence of the labor-African American alliance and its inherent power. It is reflective of a broader independent electoral coalition that includes our Party and YCL, which is in the early stages of being rebuilt. The Party needs to keep our eye on this development and foster it in every way possible...
The Daley Machine, WalMart and big business failed in efforts to win key aldermanic elections despite their best efforts and money and the most anti-labor of campaigns. The Party was heavily involved in several of the campaigns, including for Sandy Jackson.

DSA endorsement

In July 1996, the Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee endorsed Jesse Jackson, Jr., Illinois 2 , in that year's Congressional elections.[10]

DSA "recommendation"

When Jesse Jackson Jr ran for Congress in 1998, Democratic Socialists of America did not officially endorse any candidates but he was "recommended" as worthy of a vote[11]by Chicago DSA-citing his membership of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and his support for Progressive Challenge.

Jessie Jackson, Jr, is a member of the Progressive Caucus and a supporter of the Progressive Challenge. Apart from some arguable positions (e.g. the third airport), he's been a fine representative.

Progressive Challenge

Democratic Socialists of America member Bob Roman, wrote of a 1998 Chicago Progressive Challenge meeting attended by Illinois Congressmen Jesse Jackson, Jr., Luis Gutierrez and Danny Davis[12];

On the evening of Monday, April 21, the Progressive Challenge came to Chicago. Starting off with a town hall style meeting that brought together about 150 people in the UNITE hall at 333 S. Ashland in Chicago, the meeting was structured to present testimony from representative of various local organizations to local Congressional members of the Progressive Caucus.
DSA was particularly well represented by the testimony of the Youth Section's International Secretary, Daraka Larimore-Hall. Daraka Larimore-Hall gave an impassioned, coherent presentation that linked the various aspects of DSA's agenda with the project at hand.
Congressmen Jesse Jackson, Jr., Luis Gutierrez and Danny Davis attended the meeting...
The Progressive Challenge is an effort to link the Congressional Progressive Caucus with the larger left grass roots network of single issue, constituent, labor and ideological organizations. The Institute for Policy Studies is very much the keystone organization of this project, which has brought together some 40 organizations including DSA, Americans for Democratic Action, United Electrical Workers, NETWORK, National Jobs for All Coalition to name a few. No one of these groups is a major player inside the Beltway, but together they have captured the attention of the Progressive Caucus and contributed to its growth.

Supporting Bobby Rush's mayoralty tilt

In 1998 Bobby Rush was busy preparing for a tilt at the Chicago mayoralty.

At his campaign launch, Rush was introduced by Reps Danny Davis, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Mexican-American activist and Committees of Correspondence affiliate Emma Lozano, as well as by anti police brutality activist Rev. Jaul Jakes.[13]

Clinton/Pinochet letter

On October 21, 1998, many Members of Congress wrote a letter to President Bill Clinton, urging him to release information to a Spanish judge investigating former Chilean President Pinochet for alleged crimes committed during and after the overthrow of the Marxist Allende government.

Dear Mr. President:
The October 17 arrest of General Augusto Pinochet in London is a good example of how the goals you outlined in your anti-terrorism speech at the United Nations can be put into practice. Indeed, when the rule oflaw is applied to combat international lawlessness,humanity's agenda gains...we call upon you to ensure that the U.S. government provides Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon material related to Pinochet's role in international terrorism -- material and testimony that the U.S. government has thus far withheld.

Signatories included Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.[14]

Northeast Action conference

The 2001 regional conference of Northeast Action on February 9-10 "brings together hundreds of progressive leaders, activists and elected officials for two days of discussions and workshops on public education, universal health care, clean elections, criminal justice reform, etc. Speakers included

The conference took place at the Sheraton Hotel in Braintree.[15]

"WAKE UP DEMOCRATS! Take Back the Country"

"WAKE UP DEMOCRATS! Take Back the Country" Conference, with Rob Reiner, Robert Reich, Robert Rosendahl, Rep. Hilda Solis, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Ed Begley, Jr., Robert Borosage, Vincent Bugliosi, Warren Beatty, Susan Lerner, Rep. Maxine Waters, Roy Ulrich, Medea Benjamin, S. David Freeman, Peter Navarro, Hon. Jackie Goldberg, Harold Meyerson, Hon. Antonio Villaraigosa, Amy Wakeland, Bob Erlenbush, Hon. Eric Garcetti, Tom Hayden, Aqella Sherrills, Parke Skelton, & Lila Garrett. Sponsored by SCADA. L.A., CA, 6/24/01.[16]

Progressive Majority Advisory Committee

In 2003 Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. served on the Progressive Majority Advisory Committee.[17]

HR 3000

On September 3, 2003 Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced H.R. 3000, the United States Universal Health Service Act, which would provide health coverage for all Americans. H.R. 3000 would establish a United States Health Service (USHS), which would eliminate profit issues from health care because it would be owned and controlled by the public and administered primarily at the local level.[18]

According to the Communist Party USA's People's World, initial supporters of HR 3000 were Julia Carson, (D-Ind.), Donna Christensen (D-Va.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.), Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Major Owens (D-N.Y.), Donald Payne (D-N.J.), and Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.).

The World went on to say;[19]

We will not win the United States Health Service without a massive, prolonged struggle by working people against the corporate defenders of the current for-profit health care industry.

Apollo Alliance

Jackson was an early supporter of the Apollo Alliance.

From Common, Apollo Alliance press release January 14, 2004.[20]

An unusual alliance of labor, environmental, civil rights, business, and political leaders today laid out a vision for a "New Apollo Project" to create 3.3 million new jobs and achieve energy independence in ten years. Named after President Kennedy's moon program, which inspired a major national commitment to the aerospace industry, the Apollo Alliance aims to unify the country behind a ten-year program of strategic investment for clean energy technology and new infrastructure.

The Alliance also announced that it has received support from 17 of America's largest labor unions, including the United Auto Workers, the Steelworkers and Machinists, as well as a broad cross section of the environmental movement, including the Sierra Club, the NRDC, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Greenpeace.
The press conference was held as President Bush is expected to make a final push for his energy agenda, which was defeated under widespread criticism last November. The press conference was attended by co-chairs of the Apollo Alliance, Senator Maria Cantwell (by phone), Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers of America, Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, as well as by California State Treasurer Phil Angelides, Congressman Jay Inslee (by phone), John Podesta, president of the Center for American Progress and Bracken Hendricks, executive director of the Apollo Alliance.

Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.) issued a statement in support of the release saying, "One of the keys to America's energy security -- and therefore our national security -- lies in rebuilding our cities. We need strategic investments to retrofit old buildings, expand transportation alternatives, restore our infrastructure, and create solar, wind and hydrogen technology. Apollo will rebuild our country in a way that benefits all Americans and reestablishes our global economic competitiveness."

In 2006, Jesse Jackson, Jr., served on the National Advisory Board of the Apollo Alliance.[21]

Voted against cutting funding for ACORN

In September 2009, following the lead of their Senate colleagues, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to cut off funds to ACORN. the vote was 345-75. All of the 75 were Democrats, and included Jesse Jackson, Jr. [22]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

As of February 20 2009 Jesse Jackson Jr was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[23]

2009 letter on Colombia

From November 6th through December 7th 2009, a letter calling for change in U.S. policy towards Colombia was circulated through the House of Representatives. This letter called for a decrease in U.S. aid for Colombia's military and an increase in support for human rights and humanitarian efforts. The initiators of this letter were —Representatives James McGovern, Jan Schakowsky, Donald Payne, and Mike Honda.

Dear Secretary of State Clinton,
The FY 2011 budget will contain the twelfth year of a major aid package to Colombia—an aid package originally slated to phase out after six years.
After eleven years, it is time to scale down assistance for Colombia's military and more systematically "Colombianize" such programs, within both the State Department and Defense Department budgets.

Signatories included Jesse Jackson, Jr..[24]

Trip to Cuba

From May 27 to June 1 2007, Rosa DeLauro travelled in Havana, Cuba, with the purpose: "to examine the transition that is occurring in Cuba and the impact of that transition on U.S. policy, as well as to examine agriculture and trade with the island." The cost of the trip, $1,906.50 was paid by the Center for Democracy in the Americas. Her trip was approved by Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Chairwoman of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. Also invited on the trip were: Marion Berry, Bob Etheridge, Rodney Alexander, Collin Peterson, Stephanie Herseth, Jack Kingston, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Ray LaHood and Zach Wamp.[25]

"Trade Act of 2008"

The "Trade Act of 2008" (HR 6180) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Mike Michaud of Maine in early June.

It has gathered 63 cosponsors, including Illinois Representatives Danny Davis, Phil Hare, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Daniel Lipinski, Jan Schakowsky. In the Senate, the legislation (S 3083) was introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and gathered 4 cosponsors.[26]

Committee to Stop FBI Repression delegation

In mid November 2010, a delegation from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression ( returned home from several days of bringing the "issue of the FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas of people doing international solidarity work and anti-war organizing to the U.S. Capitol". Three supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!, Deb Konechne of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Anh Pham, who is facing a reactivation of her subpoena and Joe Iosbaker, whose home was raided, spent two days meeting with U.S. Representatives on the issue. The delegation asked each Congressperson to sponsor a “Dear Colleague” letter condemning the raids and grand jury subpoenas. In the two days, the delegation met with either the Congressional Representative’s staff or the Representative themselves fro[[m the following 16 offices: Tammy Baldwin (WI), John Conyers (MI), Danny Davis (IL), Keith Ellison (MN), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Luis Gutierrez (IL), Mike Honda (CA), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL), Dennis Kucinich (OH), Barbara Lee (CA), Jim McDermott (WA), Jim McGovern (MA), Bobby Rush (IL), Linda Sanchez (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Maxine Waters (CA). The "meetings were positive, with all the offices expressing genuine concern about the situation. In some cases, because of the outpouring of calls from around the country, the U.S. Representatives were aware that the delegation was in Washington D.C. and the offices made time on their schedules to meet with the delegation. This reinforces the continuing importance of the solidarity work taking place around the country."

Rep. Conyers (MI), chair of the Judiciary Committee, directed the Counsel of the Judiciary Committee to meet with the delegation. Also, Rep. Ellison (MN) and his Congressional staff met directly with the delegation for a significant amount of time. rep. Ellison sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, expressing concern over the situation and is continuing to work on options to support his constituents affected. The delegation also received face-to-face meetings with Rep Gutierrez and Rep Davis from Chicago. Rep. Grijalva’s (AZ) office set up a meeting between the delegation and the Executive Director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the Congress of which rep. Grijalva is the chair. In addition, the office of Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Maxine Waters (CA) gave the delegation significant time and attention.

“It was clear that progressive Representatives of the Congress are very concerned about the FBI investigation. Overall, they were very thankful for our visit and for the information and analysis given to them The level of awareness about the raids and grand jury was varied, from little to full awareness, but the delegation certainly changed that. After the two days, our presence and purpose definitely created a stir in the halls of Congress. “The fact that we were able to interact with 16 legislative aides or Congress people themselves, during an extremely busy time of restructuring leadership in the Congress, exemplifies the attention this matter is receiving”, stated Joe Iosbaker.[27]

Supporting DSA friend's Bill

According to Chicago Democratic Socialists of America's New Ground No. 135, March/April 2011];[28]

The need for Federal action should be obvious. To that end, DSA supports H.R. 870, The Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act, introduced into the House of Representatives by John Conyers, U.S. Representative from Detroit, and friend of DSA. This bill introduces several strategies to generate jobs, including the establishment of a National Full Employment Trust Fund to create employment opportunities for the unemployed, financed (budget-neutral) by a tax on securities transactions. Introduced by Representative John Conyers, Jr. (MI-14) on March 2nd, the bill recently gained its 6th cosponsor, Bob Filner (CA-51). In Illinois, Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL-2) is a co-sponsor.

Leading with Love

Leading with Love was an event to celebrate 5 years of the Marxist led National Domestic Workers Alliance. It was held in Washington DC, DC, November 14, 2012.

Members of the Host Committee included Jesse Jackson, Jr.[29]

ARA endorsement

Alliance for Retired Americans endorsed Jesse Jackson, Jr. in 2012.[30]

Praising CAIR

“I thank CAIR for its advocacy and continuing to open the lines of communication to ensure that we make democracy work for everyone.” - Rep. Jesse L. Jackson (D-Ill.) (October 2011). [31]


Campaign Financing Scandal

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. directed a major political fund-raiser to offer former Gov. Rod Blagojevich millions of dollars in campaign cash in return for an appointment to the U.S. Senate." The article put that figure at $1.5 million in its initial reports. But according to Jackson’s fundraiser, Raghuveer Nayak, the Illinois Congressman asked him to offer not $1.5 million, but a whopping $6 million in campaign cash to Blagojevich to secure the Senate seat!

In addition to his corrupt deal-making, in 2010 Jackson was also nailed for conducting an improper and potentially criminal relationship with a female "social acquaintance." Nayak told investigators that Jackson asked him to “pay to fly a Washington, DC, restaurant hostess named Giovana Huidobro…to Chicago to visit him.” Nayak reportedly did so twice.

We all know what “social acquaintance” means under these circumstances. Jackson says this is a “private and personal matter between me and my wife.” But not if it involves public funds or illegal gifts — issues which remain unsettled.[32]

"Add Basic Rights to The Constitution"

Jesse Jackson, Jr. on changing The Constitution

On March 2, 2011, Jackson, Jr. addressed the House of Congress where he explained his solution to unemployment in the United States. A partial transcript from his speech is below. The video is to the right.

"Mr. Speaker, I believe that the answer to long term unemployment is actually in The Constitution of the United States. Well, let me say that a little differently. It's not in The Constitution of the United States. It should be in The Constitution of the United States, and one of these days we are going to get there. We need to add to The Constitution the right to a family to have a decent home. What would that do for home construction in this Nation? What would that do for millions of unemployed people? He says we need to add to The Constitution the right to medical care. How many doctors would such a right create? He says we need to add to The Constitution of the United States, the right to a decent education for every American. How many schools would such a right build from Maine to California? How many people would be put to work building roofs and designing classrooms and providing every student with an iPod and a laptop? How many ghettos and boroughs will actually be touched by such an amendment? In fact, very little that we pass in the Congress of the United States even touches the long-term unemployed. Only thing that touches them that this Congress has access to, that can actually change their station in life, is The Constitution of the United States... Mr. Speaker, there's an even greater America that's in front of us. It's the America that adds to our founding document these basic rights."


The following are past and present staff:[33]

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The History Makers: Jesse Jackson, Jr. (accessed on Dec. 22, 2010)
  2. CBS News "Jesse Jackson Jr. drops out of public eye again," November 16, 2012
  3. Association of Concerned Africa Scholars Spring/Summer 2000 No. 57/58
  4. Rev. Addie Wyatt, Legendary Labor, Religious and Civil Rights Icon Dies at 88 In Chicago, By Marksallen, March 29, 2012
  6. PWW, June 7, 1997, page 3
  7. Joy in the Struggle, Bea Lumpkin, page 220]
  8. Joy in the Struggle, Bea Lumpkin, page 222]
  10. Democratic Left, July/August 1996, page 21
  13. [People's Weekly World, Dec. 12,1998, page 9]
  14. October 21, 1998, Members Of Congress Call On Clinton To Release Key Information On Gen. Pinochet To Spanish Judge
  15. Yankee Radical, January 2001
  16. [1]
  17. MAJORITY BACKGROUNDER September 2003
  18., Lee press release, September 3, 2003]
  19. Rep. Lee introduces universal health care bill, by: David Lawrence October 9 2003
  20. Common, Apollo Alliance press release January 14, 2004]
  21. Democratic, Jan-01-06
  22. [ American Thinker, September 18, 2009 The 75 Democrats who are pro-sex slave ACORN defenders By Ethel C. Fenig]
  23. Congressional Progressive Caucus website: Caucus Member List
  24. Latin America Working Group, Get Your Representative to Sign a Letter Supporting Human Rights in Colombia
  25. Legistorm: Rosa DeLauro (accessed on August 30, 2010)
  26. New ground 119, July/August 2008
  27. Report on Congressional Delegation From the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, U.S. Peace Council website, posted Nov. 20, 2010
  28. [, New Ground No. 135, March/April 2011
  29. LEL webpage, accessed Jan. 21st, 2012
  30. ARA endorsements 2012
  31. [ What They Say About CAIR (October 2014)
  32. Judicial Watch: Judicial Watch Announces List of Washington's “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” for 2010, Dec. 2010 (accessed on Dec. 22, 2010)
  33. Accessed 12/08/2011